Cybersecurity is a necessity in today’s digital-first world. However, security and privacy have become interchangeable, when in fact, they are not the same at all. Consumers will struggle to achieve and maintain full privacy online as long as these two terms continue to be misunderstood or interchanged for one another.
Security: The Privacy Pretender
Security is anything from the lock on your front door to the online protection package recommended by your cybersecurity provider; it comes in all shapes and sizes. Cybersecurity protects users from cyberattacks and infiltration of internet systems, software and hardware. Security for consumers is mostly about keeping data secure from incoming threats to their devices. It is an important element of any connected device and helps keep user information protected from malicious interruptions.
In 2017, hackers gained access to the data of nearly 150 million users during the Equifax breach. Without warning and without any input in how their data was stored and utilized, customer names and driver’s license data were delivered into the hands of cybercriminals who are capable of storing and accessing the data for years to come. This July, a hacker obtained the personal data of over 100 million Capital One customers, leaving their personal information exposed. These are just a few of the data breaches wreaking havoc on today’s consumers, who are becoming more aware of their need for protection.
Privacy: Security’s Comrade in Arms
When we experience true privacy we are free from uninvited observers and disturbances; because of this, privacy is inherently a more complex idea than security. Security software addresses the challenge of protecting your devices from intruders and viruses, however, it doesn’t provide control over how your information is shared online. It also doesn’t give you the choice of what to share and with whom. While security software safeguards your devices from incoming threats, it is ineffective when your data is shared.
Along with the growing awareness among consumers of the need for security online, we continue to lose trust in significant names like Facebook and Google in terms of using our data carefully. The most imperative and valuable part of true privacy is the ability to dictate who, how and when your information is used. How do we accomplish this sense of privacy?
Imagine the possibilities if we, as the consumer, had the choice to be private and could enjoy an entirely private landscape online when we desire. If consumers didn’t have to worry about who was watching and taking notes, they could be empowered to live more openly, creatively and freely. Now everything we search, look at and think about seems to be tracked online, and it’s starting to spill over into our physical lives, leaving us feeling as though we’re constantly being followed.
Privacy and Security: Creating an Alliance
Fortunately, we may be closer to the freedoms privacy allows than we think. By taking a few simple precautions, we can ensure we are on the path to a more private personal life in an increasingly connected world.
Be sure to look for features such as fraud alerts or vulnerability detectors, anti-malware/ransomware, antivirus software and firewalls when choosing the best technology to secure your devices. Other “must-haves” when choosing your privacy software include:
- The ability to check whether or not your data has been exposed
- The ability to keep your personal information private
- The ability to stay private on public Wi-Fi
- The ability to log in easily and privately
- The ability to block trackers
Until now, privacy and security have been treated as interchangeable terms, and it is time that this changes. As you strive to make your world both private and secure, keep in mind their differences and why they must go hand in hand to create a truly safe experience online.